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What is COVID-19, and why odes it matter in prisons? Read this article to find out.
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus viewed under microscope.

COVID-19 is a disease which first appeared in 2019.

It went on to spread throughout the world and cause a global pandemic which brought many countries to a halt as people had to stay in their homes and socially distance themselves from others. Vaccines which are very effective against severe forms of the disease were rapidly developed by scientists everywhere and have allowed the world to go ‘back to normal’ for the most part.

COVID-19 can very easily spread in prisons because of the crowded living conditions and poor ventilation. As such, it is important to maintain a high level of protection in prisons.

The disease


How does it feel?

People who have COVID-19 can have a high temperature, cough, sore throat and headache, feel tired, have aches and pains in their body, or lose their sense of taste or smell.

What is severe disease like?

People who get very ill with COVID-19 may have difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of speech or mobility, or be confused. In these cases, people can die from COVID-19. A long-term complication of COVID-19 is long COVID, which includes symptoms such as shortness of breath, ‘brain fog’, and fatigue.

How does it spread?

COVID-19 can spread through contact with coughs or sneezes of infected people, and from being in confined spaces with an infected person for a long time. Who is at risk of getting it? Everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19, but some people at more at risk of serious complications, such as older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and people with health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems.

Why does it matter in prisons?

Because of the close living conditions (such as sharing of cells) and bad ventilation in prisons, infections which spread through the air, such as COVID-19, can spread very quickly in prisons. When staff members become sick in the winter months from COVID-19, staff members have to take time off work, which increases pressure on remaining colleagues to run the prison safely.

What vaccines are there against COVID-19?

Several different COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and licensed for use, and different vaccines have been used in different countries.

How effective is the vaccine?

Vaccination effectiveness varies between vaccine types and depends on which COVID-19 variant is circulating. COVID-19 vaccines are between 70% – 100% effective at preventing severe disease or hospitalisation. However, immunity from the vaccine isn’t long lasting and needs to be boosted with booster doses of the vaccine.

How safe is the vaccine?

Common side effects include redness, hardness or swelling where the needle went in, feeling tired, headaches, aches, mild flu-like symptoms. More serious or long-lasting side effects to COVID-19 vaccines are possible but extremely rare.

Did you know?
COVID-19 has two characteristics which led to it causing a pandemic: it is both very transmissible and can cause very severe disease. This means it spreads quickly through the population, and can lead to very severe disease or death, meaning it is very important we protect ourselves from the disease.
This article is from the free online

Prison Health: Vaccinations for People Working and Living in Prisons (Vaccine Trained Staff)

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